fishy timing
June 4, 2019

It was a known fact that the U.S. made multiple transfers of nuclear power technology to Saudi Arabia since 2017, but Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said on Tuesday that transfers occurred even after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of his own government.

Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, and his death sparked a newfound skepticism toward the U.S.'s relationship with Saudi Arabia, in general, from members of Congress, but there was particular concern about the nuclear technology sharing. Kaine had previously asked Energy Secretary Rick Perry if any of his approvals for the transfers were made after Khashoggi's death, to which Perry replied he wasn't sure, Reuters reports.

But in Tuesday's statement Kaine said that the Trump administration approved seven transfers overall and that two of those transfers occurred after Khashoggi's death — one on October 18, 2018, and the other on February 18, 2019. Kaine also raised concern that the approvals were made with the Trump family's financial interests in mind, "rather than the interests of the American people." Kaine said that "President Trump's eagerness to give the Saudis anything they want" is one of the main drivers "fueling a dangerous escalation of tension" in the Middle East, likely referring to burgeoning quarrel with Iran. Tim O'Donnell

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